Monday Mornings with Madison

Analysis Paralysis: When Decision-Making Gets Stuck and How to Get Unstuck

Word Count: 1,656
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

When Decision-Making Gets Stuck

The average person makes a lot of decisions daily.  Researchers Barbara Sahakian and Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta estimated that an adult makes about 35,000 decisions each day, while a child makes about 3,000.[1] This may seem impossible since that is about 24 decisions per minute or one decision every two to three seconds.  But most of those are ‘remotely conscious’ decisions.  That means we do them on mental auto-pilot and most are not that important.  For instance, Brian Wansink and Jeffery Sobal, researchers at Cornell University, found that the average person makes 226.7 decisions every day just on food.[2] Food decisions are made with little intentional thought and have little or no consequence.  The same is true for lots of other decisions.  What to wear.  What time to go to bed.   We scarcely think of these small choices as “decisions.”  But, mixed in with the myriad of tiny assessments we are constantly making are important decisions as well.  And, the higher a person’s position at work, the greater the quantity and consequence of those decisions.  As the saying goes, heavy is the head that wears the crown. Continue reading

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Why Resolutions Fail 90% of the Time, Part 2

Did you make any resolutions for 2019?  Most likely. LinkedIn’s feed has been full of posts of folks sharing their big professional goals for the year ahead.  Most resolutions run the gamut from personal ones like losing weight and becoming fit to professional ones such as increasing focus and improving time management.  Everyone has things they wish they could do better and that’s a good thing.  After all, we should each be a work in progress in every area of life.  So, it’s important to create goals and work diligently to achieve them. Continue reading

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Why Resolutions Fail 90% of the Time, Part 1

Word Count: 1,964
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

To err is human, and so is to want a ‘do-over’.  When we fall short of the mark we set for ourselves (or that others might have set for us), we long for a fresh start… a second chance to get it right.  This is also an inherent part of human nature.  For many, a second (or third or fourth) chance can finally mean achieving a long-sought, ever-elusive goal.  For someone, it might be to finally quit smoking.  For someone else, it might be to get off the couch and be able to run a 5K.  For another, it might be to finally get a promotion or raise.  For the reserved person, it might be to break out of that introverted shell and start engaging on social media.  For someone who is always missing deadlines, it might mean better time management.  For an introverted person, it might be to be able to speak in public with confidence.  Whatever the goal, this time of year prompts people to resolve to do better.  Hence the term “Resolutions.” Continue reading

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When Failure Is and Is Not Okay

Failure due to Innovation vs. Incompetence

Everyone gets it wrong at least once in a while.  That is why they put erasers on pencils.  There are judgment calls that don’t pan out.   There are ideas that seem good in theory but falter during execution.  There are new processes and programs that ultimately don’t work.  For scientists and inventors, getting it “wrong” is an inevitable part of the job.  It’s called trial and error, and that is how discoveries are made and innovations achieved.  With a higher number of trials, you get more successes but also more failures.  But then there are also times when something doesn’t work because of a plain mistake made.  Two plus two does not equal five.   It happens.  To err, after all, is human. Continue reading

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The Highest and Best Use of Your Team, Part 2

Word Count: 1,496
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

The best leaders, managers and entrepreneurs know that a company’s success depends on getting maximum performance from employees.   According to Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO and chairperson of Xerox and Chief Executive Magazine’s “CEO of the Year” in 2008, “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral their growth, performance soars.  So how does that happen? Continue reading

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The Highest and Best Use of Your Team, Part 1

Word Count: 1,474
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Is everyone at your company working on tasks that are the highest and best use of their time and talents?  The very best leaders aim for that goal or should.  Still, it is a goal that is a work in progress but one that is highly unlikely to ever be fully achieved.  First, most people do not work at jobs that capitalize on their most valuable skills.  Employees are usually hired to fill a role at a company and perform the tasks related to that job, even if they have extraordinary, untapped skills that could be far more valuable to the organization.   Most employers are not even aware of the hidden talents their employees possess.  But, even when workers are using their most valuable talents on behalf of an organization, it is unlikely that those skills are being applied 100% of the time.  People spend time – sometimes a lot of time — on tasks that are of moderate or low value to the organization.  And, what a person considers the highest and best use of his time and talents may not necessarily align with what others may think or what the company wants and needs from the employee. Continue reading

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Finding Success in Stillness, Part 2

Word Count: 1,326
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Americans are known worldwide to be workaholics.  We see “doing” and “working hard” as positive behaviors and view increased productivity always as a good thing.  People are rewarded for “getting things done” and “making things happen”.  Busy is good, and overworked is even better.  People who are busy are seen as “movers and shakers” and “rain makers”.  They have hustle and drive.  In fact, Americans work among the most hours of any advanced country in the world, except for South Korea and Japan, where they actually invented a word for dying at work.  (Karoshi means death from overwork.)  What’s more, this obsession with “being busy” is on the rise.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American works about one month more a year than we did in 1976. Continue reading

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Finding Success in Stillness, Part 1

Word Count: 1,326
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

The world is in a perpetual tizzy of activity.  There is always so much to do.  Do this.  Do that.  Go… go… go.  We buzz around with never-ending to-do lists and ever-increasing workloads.  Managers are constantly looking at how to increase workplace productivity.  We praise workaholics and celebrate when worker bees are so busy that they don’t have a moment’s rest. Continue reading

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Is Your Brand Message a Rallying Cry for your Company? Part 2 – Crafting Taglines, Slogans and Mottos that Stick

Word Count: 1,487
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Give A Company’s Brand Messaging a Boost

Is there a commercial or ad for a product that is particularly memorable?  Who can forget the funny Wendys’ commercial in which a little old lady opened the buns on her burger and yelled “Where’s the beef?” as she searched for the tiny meat patty.   Or the BandAid jingle in which a kid in a bathtub sang “I am stuck on band-aid brand cause BandAid’s stuck on me”.  Whether it is a slogan, tagline, jingle, motto, headline or strapline, all brand messaging needs to shoot for maximum impact.  It also needs to be catchy and memorable, part of which comes from connecting with the customer in some way.  It might be because it rhymes.  It might be from repetition.  It might be through humor.  Ultimately, though, all brand messaging should unite in telling a story.  But creating brand messaging that tells a cohesive story and is also clever or catchy and memorable is not as easy as it sounds.  There are, however, some tips that can help guide the process. Continue reading

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Is Your Brand Message a Rallying Cry for your Company?

Word Count: 1,436
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Part I – Distinguishing between a Tagline, Slogan, Motto and Strapline

Message Matters Most

Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to perfect their brand.  Logo.  Font.  Colors.  Patterns.  Style Guides.  Brand DNAs.  Mission.  Vision.  Brand promises.  Brand differentiators.  For good reason.  In today’s super-crowded global marketplace, it takes powerful branding to cut through the noise.  If your brand is bland, boring or unclear, then it is just that much harder to break through the din, stand out in the crowd and be noticed.  And is nearly impossible to be remembered. Continue reading

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